Akihiro Hironaka has been a partner in the dispute resolution group of Nishimura & Asahi, the largest law firm in Japan, since 2007. He has extensive experience dealing with various large-scale and complex dispute resolution matters, both domestic and cross-border.
Mr Hironaka is particularly renowned for his successful representation of clients in multiple large-scale disputes. For example, he succeeded in defending a notable Japanese corporation in six large extraordinary parallel lawsuits with total damages claims amounting to JPY 48.3 billion, where claimants included an affiliate company of a U.S. headquartered investment bank and a notable U.S. hedge fund. He also represented Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance in contesting a tax assessment with respect to complex cross-border reinsurance transactions to transfer earthquake-related risk, and succeeded in recovering JPY 6.7 billion. Furthermore, by representing the Sumitomo Trust & Banking Corporation in challenging a tax assessment related to cross-border securities repurchase transactions, he succeeded in recovering JPY 8 billion.
Mr Hironaka has also achieved impressive results in large scale international arbitration cases in Japan and Singapore, including an emergency arbitrator procedure case, complex and serious product liability lawsuits, cross-border disputes concerning M&A transactions, reinsurance claims, corporate law related matters, and large construction disputes relating to delays at foreign construction sites, among others.
In addition, his experience extends to advising clients with respect to U.S. discovery proceedings, Japanese judicial assistance for foreign court proceedings, Japanese legal issues pertaining to foreign court and arbitration proceedings, and U.S. civil actions, including class actions.
Mr Hironaka is a graduate of the University of Tokyo (LL.B., 1993) and Harvard Law School (LL.M., 2003), and is admitted to the Japanese bar and the New York bar. He served as a judge of the Yokohama District Court in 1998-2000, and worked as a foreign attorney at Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C., in 2003-2004.
Furthermore, Mr Hironaka has authored numerous books, book chapters, and articles in the areas of dispute resolution and tax controversy, including Exploring Practicality: Using Japanese Courtrooms for Evidence Gathering in International Arbitration, Dispute Resolution International Vol. 9, No. 2 (2015), International Arbitration and Corporate Strategy (Co-author, Yuhikaku, 2014) and Yasuhei Taniguchi et al., eds., Civil Procedure in Japan (contributor, Juris Publishing, 2002-2008).
He is an individually ranked lawyer in the category of dispute resolution/litigation with Chambers Global/Asia-Pacific 2015 and Who's Who Legal Japan 2015. Who's Who Legal Japan 2015 described him as an "experienced litigator who 'is one of the first names that come to mind for high-stake lawsuits.'" Asian Legal Business named him as "one of the firm's many 'go-to' partners to perform strongly." Mr Hironaka was awarded Asialaw Asia-Pacific Dispute Resolution Awards: Disputes Star of the Year, Japan, in 2015.